I don't care who you are — somewhere in that heart and soul of yours, you've fantasized about wearing a crown. They're sparkly, they're pretty, and, somehow, just wearing one makes you feel more regal and respected. Talk about an automatic self-esteem booster. But it must be even better when the crown or tiara you're wearing actually stands for something and didn't cost a buck at Party City. For reigning Miss USA Nia Sanchez, her next head hardware could literally mean the world if she can best the competition in the Miss Universe pageant, airing Sunday night on NBC. Sanchez has many crowns, since she's also been Miss Nevada and Disney princesses at Disneyland. Yes, really.
This 24-year-old stunner is originally from Sacramento, Calif., and grew up in a military family of mixed descent. Her father is part Mexican and German, while her mother is of German and Spanish descent. When her parents divorced, Nia lived in a women's shelter with her mother briefly, before they relocated to Southern California and she started competing in beauty pageants at age 13. Her very first crown came with the title Miss Citrus Valley USA at age 19.
What else has this potential Miss Universe been up to? Read on and find out before she potentially takes home the Big Kahuna of pageant crowns.
Miss Nevada — or Miss California?
Some pageant controversy erupted after Sanchez switched from competing in Miss California contests to Miss Nevada. She went home empty handed at the Miss California competition in both 2010 and 2011, but then established Nevada residency while she worked at Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif. That's not too far from Los Angeles, but it's pretty far from Las Vegas.
Miss Nevada rules state that contestants must have lived in the state for 6 months with required in-state documentation, which Sanchez has — as well as a house in Las Vegas.
"I actually had an agent that was working me in Nevada a lot so I figured why not work in that state, and then I looked into the pageant program because I had done pageants before," she told Fox News. "So I figured why not look into the one in Nevada? I really liked the way that it was run, the director that ran it, it seemed like a really healthy, well-run state program. So I decided to go there since I was living there anyway."
Time as a Disney Princess
Can you think of anyone better to represent the United States than a woman who has donned the famous dresses and tresses of Cinderella, Princess Aurora, Belle, and Snow White? It's true; Sanchez worked as several different Disney princess at Disneyland in California during 2013 and Hong Kong Disneyland in 2012.
It's a hard job to get, but Sanchez decided to leave so she could concentrate on beauty pageants.
She's In Love
Sorry, boys — she's taken. Sanchez is engaged to actor Daniel Booko, who you might recognize from such films as 21 & Over, Bratz: The Movie, American Pie Presents: Band Camp, and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. The couple recently got engaged in October in New York City.
“We’ve made it work because he’s acting in Los Angeles, and I’m here in Las Vegas. He visits most of the time, and then I visit him when I can," she told the Las Vegas Sun last year. "It’s a good thing. When I’m home here, it lets me focus on the pageant every single day so that I’m not distracted."
And their wedded bliss may soon include one Miss Universe tiara.